corrected. The gay police busted down my door, beat me with
their nightsticks, and stomped my stomach with their
steel-toed boots until I was taught my lesson. That
lesson, once and for all, is that Janet Jackson did
not shout "Minneapolis!" in the song
"Nasty," as I so carelessly reported
last week. It was "Escapade." I am truly sorry
for all the people I've hurt.
makes me better than anyone associated with American
Idol who had a hand in mercilessly mocking the
rotund, red-haired, seemingly developmentally disabled
auditioner who appeared on the show last week. It turns out
that the young man in question--you remember, he
was fast friends with the bug-eyed guy Simon called a
"bush baby"--did, once upon a time,
participate in the Special Olympics. I mean, yes, I
laughed when they made fun of him too. But now I feel
just awful. But not that awful; he got an agent out of it.
So did Bug-Eyes. And in this life representation is even
better than respect. Everyone knows that.
Memphis and they've digitally erased all the cars and human
beings from shots of the city. Every time they show you a
shot of a fake-empty street there's a bluesy guitar
lick that sproings out at you. It's all very
"devil took my woman" and meant to convey the
idea that simply everyone in Memphis, from the
tall to the small, babies and invalid mee-maws and
seersucker-suited lawyers and toothless illegal
dayworkers and the reanimated corpse of Colonel
Sanders, oh, wait, that's Kentucky, make that the reanimated
corpse of Col. Tom Parker--all of them, are
auditioning for American Idol.
OK, so here's how
I'm going to break this down for you. The audition
episodes have no real narrative. There's a pattern of Person
Who Can't Sing, Person Who Can't Sing, Person Who Goes
to Hollywood, montage of People Who Can't Sing, and
maybe a montage of Judges Being Stunned By People Who
Can't Sing. And then it just repeats itself. So my recaps
for these early weeks can be whatever I decide to make
them be, you know? I'm going to just list the ones who
make it through and the ones who don't. It's easier
that way. For me. If you really care about episode
continuity, perhaps you should be watching the actual show
instead of relying on some gay nobody sitting on his
couch in his boxer shorts to do it for you.
I refuse to call
them Golden Ticket winners, the unofficial name they've
been trying to stick on everyone who gets one of the
little pee-yellow pieces of paper that means they're
going Hollywood. A Golden Ticket is for four bad
little boys and girls (and one good one) who visit a
chocolate factory. And that's that. But anyway, here they
That's his actual name. Son of one-hit-wonder Roy Head
("Treat Her Right," 1965) and current object
of turn-the-straight-man fantasies of virtually every
bear I know. And I know a helluva lot of them. Anyway,
Sundance Head is also a Too Much Hair Gloop Combined With
Bad Haircut Head, a Please Manage My Unruly Goatee Head, and
a Why Won't Anyone Tell Him That Class Rings on Chains
Around Your Neck Make You Look Dopey Head. But he can
sing the ribs off a pig, and I can only imagine a
sudden drug dependency intervening in his eventual placement
in the top 12, so that means eventually some
Idol-commissioned stylist is going to get hold
of him and try to fix those personal grooming mishaps by
replacing them with worse ones. Can't wait.
A blond chick
wearing a weird hippie halter top with a big sparkly
boob-medal covering her entire rack. The boob-medal features
dangly gauzy streamers. I forget what she sings
because she's totally forgettable. Except for the
Crazy Beard Guy.
He has a superlong, bushy beard and back-length hair,
like a cross between what's his face from Iron and Wine and
Crystal Gayle. He sings Johnny Cash's "God's
Gonna Cut You Down" more or less interestingly
but something tells me he's not got the chops for Celine
She's a professional background singer with zero
confidence and hunchy shoulders. And she sings really well
but seems to be surprised when people tell her she's
good. It feels creepy to watch her be so timid. I
mean, you make your living as a professional
background singer already, presumably for famous people you
had to audition for, triumphing over other,
lesser-voiced auditioners. What gives with the
self-esteem? Stop faking.
The new father
who sings "Let's Get It On" with hilarious
taking-a-dump vocal strain. He sucks, but he's got a
newborn, so that equals backstory. And he's bald like
Chris Daughtry. So off he goes to Hollywood.
Guy. He brought his entire squad and marching band along
with him. He's all cheer-hands and happy smiling gay-face.
Simon hates it. The guy keeps singing. I hate it when
they do that. Like more is somehow truly more instead
of what it really is: a jackhammer drilling in the
earhole. They send him out and his squad begins a crazy
cheer for him. Cut to Paula, suddenly shaken by a
soul-dead Laker Girl flashback, saying,
"Cheerleaders, man. They're always there for
you." The band keeps blasting a dumb halftime
march. Seacrest is being held up by his skinny, skinny
calves by other male cheerleaders as he joins in a
chant--a not so far-fetched position for him to
be in, now that I look at it--and the judges are
getting fake-peeved. Simon yells at them all to shut up.
Seacrest tells Simon he's being a "prick," but
it gets bleeped, of course. These are the moments when
I bend to the Seacrest-Enjoyment side of life. My
official position is that he's a freaky, joyless, hosting
pod, but in the odd moments when he flashes the teensiest
bit of humanity, sarcasm, genuine real-person
bitterness or humor, then I think he might not be the
worst person in the world who's not already running
the United States government.
She thinks she can be a "My-er." She's trying
to say "Mya," as in the personality-free
singer whose hit was...uh...I don't fucking
know what hit(s) Mya's had, now that I think about it. This
prompts a wacky exchange between the girl and Simon
that bears no fruit of understanding whatsoever. Then
she tries to sing an Ashanti song, proving two things:
1. This child
only likes to listen to songs originally performed by
empty, soulless carcasses, and
2. She sings like
what would happen if Ashanti swallowed legendary
Bollywood singer Asha Bhosle whole and then crapped her out
and then that crap sang the song.
The judges tell
her she can't sing, and that's her cue to begin a
rendition of "Secret Lovers." Did I say I
hated it when they started singing again just because
they feel like it? I changed my mind. I would pay good
money to hear this kid sing that song in its entirety
because it's that awesome and weird.
benecked dope who tries to sing "Superstition"
like he's got a vocoder embedded in his throat. His
fringed-jacket-wearing lady pal comforts him after the
Braces Girl With
Big Pink Gums. She sings a Teena Marie song. I like it
because she sucks so enthusiastically. In her few seconds
before the judges you know she feels like she really
is Teena Marie.
African American woman. She actually sings really well,
but they chop her anyway. Who knows why? Maybe they needed
to make sure they had enough bland jugs-tastic white
girls with a giant boob-medals and dangling streamers
attached to their halter tops going through to
Emotional Guy. He
claims he's going to bring "emotional" back to
American Idol. Then he flails around and talks
his way through the song. The editing of his moments make
sure it sounds like he's saying the word
"emotional" as many times as possible to
maximize the nutjobbery.
The Dumped Guy.
He's this enormous fellow whose wife left him and he
thinks he's going to get her back if he wins the show. He is
Janita. She sings
"Disco Inferno" until her tits come
this close to falling out of her dress. But
Janita's bad singing is just run-of-the-mill. Her speech is
what makes her a star. I can't even comment on it in a
way that can explain the amazingness of her
pre-audition monologue, a soliloquy on style that goes
like this (all misspellings are a pitiful attempt to
approximate her speaking voice, even though she has to
be heard to be really appreciated and loved the right
is vurrry important. It has to be. It works in with my
confidentiality [sic]. It boostses my confidence in many,
many ways. I believe in, you know, dressin' sexy but
not too over the top. I believe yurr first appurrance
is the appurrance that everybody will always remember,
you know. The judges' first impression of me will probably
be, well, they'll probably say I'm innocent, well put
together, really neat, cah-servative, and very sexy.
I wish that you
could just click on her quote and hear a sound clip of
how she actually speaks these words because I think I would
love to hear Janita read me bedtime stories every
night for the rest of my life. Very sexy bedtime
stories. Then I want her to adjust her breasts, slip on a
pair of fancy sunglasses, point shooting-gun-fingers at me,
and dance the hoochy-koo like she's going right now.
Guy. He sings "Burning Love." He's very upset.
Included in this
episode is a montage of People Who Can't Sing doing
their best to can't-sing "Burning Love,"
including a guy who unzips his pants, pulls a towel
out, tosses the towel away, and then awkwardly zips
his pants back up on the last horrible note.
OMG, they've got
Joan Collins as a guest judge! Oh, wait, sorry, it's
just Carole Bayer Sager. With a huge wig. Or several wigs.
Home to some cats, I think. Cats who just gave birth.
Seacrest delivers the standard "Hang on kids,
I'm about to explain who the fuck Carole Bayer Sager is
for you" introduction. He says that CBS "has
penned some of the greatest love songs in music
history." That's right, IN MUSIC HISTORY. And what
are her most famous? Let's see, there's "Arthur's
Theme" (that's the one about the moon and New
York City), "Theme From Ice Castles,"
"Don't Cry Out Loud," "That's
What Friends Are For," and "A Groovy Kind of
I'm down for the
"Theme From Ice Castles." But seriously those
other songs suck big moose.
The Crying Girl.
Crying Girl cries before the audition, during the
audition, and after the audition. She doesn't get approval
from her father. So being famous is going to fix all
that. It's the celebrity Achilles' Heel. They all want
Mommy's and Daddy's approval. But guess what,
young lady? When you win the Grammy or the Oscar or
whatever, your father still won't love you. And I
think it's all an act. But CBS is at least impressed
with Crying Girl's ability to shed tears, since her own
ducts have been Botoxed to Jupiter and back.
The Best Friends.
They love to shop and wear bikinis on the beach. And
they can both sing pretty well. The show is dying to
have them catfight and pull each other's hair. I would
like this too. They wind it up by telling one friend she's
better than the other. Simon pours more gasoline on it by
telling the better one, "When someone's down on
the floor, kick them." You can feel the story
editors' glee radiating off the screen in big hot sexy
Kia and Her
Amazing DMV Nails. Kia sings Aretha's "Ain't No
Way." She's great. So is her manicure.
Tyson Beckford 2.
He's a 16-year-old modelish kid who can sing. When he's
done, Paula is sitting in a puddle. Maybe Randy too.
She's got curly dark hair and a giant medallion affixed to
her abdomen. She looks like Simon's girlfriend, so he gives
her the Tex Avery wolf eyeball-popping AH-OOOOH-GAH!
face for a moment. She can sing well enough. As if any
of them heard a note coming out of her mouth. Never
let it be said that foxy people do not get way more than
they deserve in life.
papers to some girl named Porcelana, a candy-raver
opera-singing teenager, a cute boy with five days of beard
growth, an African-American woman who brought her
entire singing, dancing it-takes-a-village clan to the
audition with her, and a guy from last season who
fucked up "Build Me Up Buttercup" so badly in
the Hollywood round that he voluntarily quit the
competition. But he's back and CBS calls him
"wonderful." So do the cats living in her Joan
Ian Benardo. He's
a shticky queen who also auditioned for So You Think You
Can Dance. He wears fur and talks in a Long
Guyland fake accent, busts generic diva moves, and serves
only to irritate the judges and all of America. So I kind of
approve, even if his act is all borrowed, for no other
reason than that he calls Carrie Underwood
"Carrie Underwear." I know, I'm in second
The Nia Vardalos
Impersonator. She sucks. Being big and fat and Greek
Ashanti. She's been on the show twice already and gone to
Hollywood both times. Both times she's been chopped. She
tries again. Sings Minnie Riperton's "Loving
You," not leaving out the crazy high note at
the end. She's stagy, desperate, needy, and fake-grinning
throughout. Simon calls her "affected,"
and they dump her once and for all.
Then she lashes
engage you? Simon, you don't understand... I have
fought so hard for this... Please let me
finish... How was my intonation, how was my timing, how
was my pitch? What do you need to hear from me? If you would
give me a chance, America would love me. They would
In her mind she's
Effie White and this is her chance to sing "And I Am
Telling You I'm Not Going." There really should be
counselors stationed in movie theater lobbies for
people who've just seen Dreamgirls. CBS just stares
at all this with cold, unfeeling eyes. Welcome to week
2 of Ha! You Signed a Release!
Next is Bank
Teller Guy. He calls himself an "Average Joe"
who doesn't want his talent to go to waste. He wants
to make people scream and to be the center of
attention. "You work at a bank," asks Paula.
"Is that fun?" He assures her that it
is. Then he sings horribly. When they ask him to try
another song he whips out a harmonica and plays that
A guy named
William with a high-pitched voice and no discernable male
secondary sex characteristics. The show loves men like this
because it gives them a chance to be all Glen or
Glenda with the raised eyebrows and genderphobia.
It's comforting in its reliability.
Then another guy
comes in with plucked eyebrows (please, gays, stop this
insanity) and an even higher, completely female vocal
delivery. The small crowd in my house, all of them
fans of Paris Is Burning, look at each other
and announce, "Butch queen! First time in drags
at a ball!" But when Simon says the same thing, Paula
smacks him and calls him an "asshole." I
mean, yes, Simon is an asshole, but he's just telling
it like it is.
Shirley." That's what she calls herself. She spent
her life screaming away in church (like Shirley
Caesar, hence the nickname), but can't handle a soft
ballad to save her life. So they ditch her and she
Girl in Red Cowboy Hat. She sings, cries, and rants.
She may be an actress doing "crazy" for her
reel. She may just actually be having an emotional
breakdown. I'm not sure. Also, I don't really care.
Name Is Really Julie. She has a cowboy hat too. And
possibly actual mental illness. She's the one they previewed
last week, the orgasm singer who just moans and huffs
her way through the song, the one I said I'd buy an
entire CD from if she only would make one available
for purchase. I like her because she's a freak-out, singing
a medley of "Lady Marmalade" and
"Piece of My Heart." It's like what would
happen if Paula Cole ate three Sara Lee pound cakes a
day for a month and then smoked dope and masturbated
on national television. Who doesn't want to watch
Rounding out the
episode, we also get a montage of judge reactions, only
suddenly one of those judges is Olivia Newton-John. Or maybe
CBS is also a shapeshifter in addition to being a
homeless shelter for cats who like to live in wigs.
I'm hoping for the latter. It's better television.